Local canned craft beer will hit L.A.'s supermarket shelves for the first time later this week, and we have Tony Yanow and Meg Gill to thank for it.
Gill, the president and co-founder of Golden Road Brewing in Atwater Village, knows a thing or two about canned beer. In 2007, after graduating from Yale with a degree in Classics (and an unofficial minor in Beer Drinking), Gill moved to Boulder, Colorado, where she met Dale Katechis — owner of Oskar Blues Brewery, originator of Dale's Pale Ale, and progenitor of the modern craft can movement.
Gill soon became Dale's disciple and Oskar Blues' west coast ambassador, preaching the gospel of canned beer to the unwashed masses from the top of a recreational vehicle. (Contrary to popular belief, aluminum cans are a better package for most beers than bottles, protecting the beer from air and light, preserving the hops, and promoting a fresher taste. They're greener, too.)
Before long, Gill made her way to San Francisco, where she continued to advocate the craft can message. It was there that she caught the eye and ear of Tony Yanow, owner of Burbank's Tony's Darts Away and Echo Park's Mohawk Bend (which, at that time, had yet to open). After a few private meetings, the two decided to open a brewery together in Los Angeles, and introduce local craft cans to the growing L.A. marketplace.
Yanow and Gill have been planning Golden Road's can release since they opened the brewery in July. “It's taken so long,” Gill said. “I had no idea it would be this kind of process.”
Part of the reason for the delay is this: Golden Road's are no ordinary cans. Among other things, the cans feature iconic images of Los Angeles, taken by an Echo Park photographer. And staying true to Yanow's “Honest Pint” program, each can contains 16 ounces of beer (most cans only contain 12 ounces of beer).
“It's good you didn't ask me to do this 18 months ago,” the manufacturer told Gill over the phone last summer. “The technology didn't exist until then.”
The technology is called Eyeris, and it allows manufacturers to emblazon aluminum cans with photo-quality images. But because Eyeris is so new, it's taken Yanow and Gill six months to get the cans right.
Yanow and Gill will debut their 16 ounce cans at Golden Road this weekend as they celebrate the grand opening of the brewery's new pub. And by next week, supermarket shoppers will find six packs of Golden Road's two flagship beers — Golden Road Hefeweizen and Point the Way IPA — at twenty-four L.A. County Whole Foods locations, and a few select bottle shops like Bill's Liquor in Atwater Village, Vendome Toluca Lake, Sunset Beer Company in Echo Park, and the 8th Street Bottle Shop in DTLA.
Each Golden Road six pack will be packaged in corrugated cardboard, and will only cost about $12. That's $2 per pint.
“We want to change the way people buy craft beer in L.A. County,” Gill said. And change it they will.